'Monster x Dragon' bows in beta

Tokyo — Japanese game major Square Enix, maker of the hit “Final Fantasy” series, is partnering with Yahoo Japan to launch new online content.

The latest fruit of this tie-up is “Monster x Dragon,” an online game that users will be able to access on Yahoo’s services for smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Although the game will be free, users will pay for game items via Yahoo, which will also take an active role in promoting the game.

The partnership underlines the accelerating shift from package software, from which Square Enix has made most of its money, to online gaming and other entertainment.

“Monster x Dragon” is an MMO game that uses Web browsers and Flash Player. The players become warriors on the mythical continent of Dragnika and use various monsters to battle each other.

The beta version of the game launched on Monday, with full-fledged service to follow.

As part of the promo push the partners will open a Monster x Dragon cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo’s gaming Mecca, as well as tie up with publisher Kodansha, the Lawson convenience store chain and broadcasters Chiba TV and TV Kanagawa.

Square Enix and Yahoo previously collaborated on online game “Sengoku IXA,” starting in August 2010, but are promoting the new game as the start of a bigger, continuing partnership to provide online content.

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